Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump faced off in the third and final presidential debate on Wednesday evening.
During an exchange regarding national security, Clinton discussed how easy it actually is for a president to launch nuclear weapons.
“The bottom line on nuclear weapons is that when the president gives the order, it must be followed,” Clinton said. “There is about four minutes between the order being given and the people responsible for launching nuclear weapons to do so.”
“And that is why 10 people who have had that awesome responsibility have come out and in an unprecedented way said they would not trust Donald Trump with the nuclear codes or to have his finger on the nuclear button.”
Clinton was referring to a public letter that a group 10 of former nuclear-launch officers wrote warning that Trump should not be trusted to wield nuclear weapons.
On Thursday, after polls showed that Clinton handily defeated Trump, 15 more former nuclear-launch officers signed the public letter.
The letter was organised by Bruce Blair, a former nuclear-launch officer and a scholar at Princeton University, as part of the #NoRedButton campaign.
John Noonan, a national-security expert who advised both Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush, was among the 25 who signed.
The former officers wrote that only the president is capable of ordering a nuclear strike — and once the launch has been ordered, it can’t be vetoed.
“The pressures the system places on that one person are staggering and require enormous composure, judgment, restraint and diplomatic skill,” the letter said. “Donald Trump does not have these leadership qualities.”
Trump has “shown himself time and again to be easily baited and quick to lash out, dismissive of expert consultation and ill-informed of even basic military and international affairs — including, most especially, nuclear weapons,” the letter said.
Blair, the head of the #NoRedButton campaign, also wrote an op-ed in The New York Times on Wednesday in which he asserted that Trump is uniquely unfit for the Oval Office.
Blair wrote that Trump is “seemingly blind to the importance of restraint” when it comes to nuclear weapons.
“He shows no humility toward the civilisation-ending destructiveness of nuclear weapons, and offhandedly entertains their use,” he wrote.
The nuclear launch officers sum it up in their letter.
“Donald Trump should not be the nation’s commander-in-chief,” they wrote. “He should not have his finger on the button.”
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